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   Compulsory education for disabled students expand
   3163    2010-02-23
Source : The Korea Herald

23 Feb. 2010

Beginning next month, it will be compulsory for mentally and physically disabled students to receive education at kindergartens and high schools, the government said yesterday.

The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology said that compulsory education for the disabled, which has thus far been offered only to elementary and middle-school students, will be expanded to kindergarteners and high-school students.

Education for those between the ages of 5 and 17 will be compulsory this year.

The government plans to expand the compulsory education to those 3 years old by 2012.

With the change, Korea will become the country with the longest compulsory education period for the disabled within the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

The government plans to establish 1,042 additional classes for disabled students to run a total of 11,603 such classes across the country.

In close cooperation with the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Family Affairs, the Education Ministry plans to run 762 childcare facilities this year, where compulsory education for preschoolers can be offered.

The ministry also plans to strengthen vocational education for disabled high-school students, which will help them enhance job skills and find suitable jobs. It will also designate 10 high schools centering on systematic vocational education for disabled students this year and increase the number to 30 by 2012.

"As it will be compulsory for the disabled to go to kindergartens and high schools, we can prevent their disabilities from further deteriorating and help facilitate their advance into society," the ministry said in a press release.

"We also anticipate the change, in the long term, would create the effect of reducing the economic cost for integrating the disabled into society."

(sshluck@heraldm.com)

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